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Home > Grants, Loans & Financing > Grant Opportunities > AGRI Value-Added Feasibility Study Grant

AGRI Agriculture Value-Added Feasibility Study Grant (VAFSG)

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) will reimburse up to 50% of the costs, with a maximum award of $35,000, for an independent third party consultant to conduct a feasibility study of your agricultural value-added business venture. The first step in this competitive grant process is submission of a “letter of interest” that will be reviewed for funding.

Questions should be directed to Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Attn: Julie LaClair, 625 North Robert Street, St. Paul, MN 55155, Julianne.LaClair@state.mn.us, 651-201-6135.

Request for Letter of Interest in the AGRI Value Added Feasibility Study Grant (VAFSG) (PDF: 72 KB / 4 pages)

Goal of the Grant

VAFSG grants assist the development of profitable agricultural businesses in Minnesota to benefit the state’s economy by adding value to Minnesota agricultural commodities or products.

Eligible and Ineligible Applicants

Any Minnesota resident or business can apply to receive funding to do a feasibility study for a new business or expansion/diversification of an existing business that will add value to a Minnesota agricultural commodity or product. This includes but is not limited to farmers/farmer networks, agricultural cooperatives, and agricultural businesses. Applicants and their subcontractors must be in compliance with Minnesota tax and environmental regulatory requirements to be eligible for funding.

The proposed value-added business must be located in Minnesota. Applicants who do not reside in Minnesota and MDA employees are not eligible for this grant.

VAFSG Award Process

  1. Submit a Letter of Interest. The Letter of Interest is a brief summary of your ideas for a new value-added business or for an expansion or diversification of an existing business. The submission deadline is on a first come first serve basis. A Letter of Interest must be submitted at the Online Grant Application website.
  2. Your Letter of Interest will be evaluated by a review committee. We will inform you of the results. If your Letter of Interest is approved, you will receive further information about next steps. Please note that you are not guaranteed to receive funding until final review of your feasibility scope of work and funding request (See Step 3 below). If your application is not approved, we will provide reviewers’ comments and suggestions for improvement upon request.
  3. If you are approved to move ahead, you will be offered free consulting services from the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). AURI will help you to further define what you want from the feasibility study and develop the scope of work for the study. They will also help you identify a qualified third party consultant to conduct the study. If you choose not to work with AURI, you must identify a qualified third party consultant to generate a quote for the study that includes the scope of work, determine the economics that would allow your project to be viable, marketing plans, infrastructure needs, risk assessment, permitting requirement assessment, financing options, feedstock availability, etc.
  4. Once you have chosen a third party consultant through AURI or independently, you submit the scope of work, the quote for completion of the study, a statement of the qualifications of your consultant, and any other relevant documentation to the MDA.
  5. Your submission will be reviewed again. Upon final approval, a Value-added Feasibility Study Grant contract will be drawn up with the amount of the grant award (50% with a maximum award of $35,000) of the cost of the quote you submitted. The scope of work will be included in the contract.

MDA Contact

Julie LaClair, Grants Specialist